I visit urban villages because they allow space for eccentricity, for unexpected juxtapositions that suggest the contours of history. And yes, these spaces are not simple agrarian settlements, but sites where wealth has accumulated for several hundred years, where ideas about what that history might mean have taken alternative forms.
Near the historic Longgang Market (龙岗墟), an eight-story ghost house rises on the footprint of a traditional row house. The family lived here until 2008, but have since moved on, leaving the local government with a conundrum: what to do with an unlivable house that was designed for the apocalypse? The house provided its own water by processing rainwater, has a generator, and the rooftop was converted for rooftop farming. Everything in the building was made from concrete, designed to survive despite the loss friends and neighbors. Impressions, below.